New FDA Ruling Making Waves in Gluten-Free Community

glutenThe American Journal of Gastroenterology recently found that the prevalence of Celiac Disease in America affects every 1 in 141 people[1]. This past spring we featured a blog post explaining the ins and outs of the gluten-free diet. We touched on Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, and the false idea that gluten-free automatically means weight loss. Now that we all have a better understanding of the gluten-free world, we have some great news to share! Earlier this month, the FDA made great strides in the gluten-free community by officially defining a standard that will apply to foods bearing the gluten-free label.

What Will This Mean? Let’s Get To The Good Stuff!

Gluten-free labeling has been a bit of a free-for-all over the past few decades. Meaning there was little to no regulation on what classified a product as gluten-free. According to a study featured in BMC Medicine, the gluten-free food industry has expanded to over $2 billion in global sales, as of 2010[2]. With the rapid expansion and lack of regulatory standards, choosing gluten free products could be a rather big risk for those with Celiac Disease and gluten-sensitivities.

As we mentioned in our previous gluten-free feature, Celiac Disease has no cure. The only known way to manage the disease is through a strict, gluten-free diet. Andrea Levario, the executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, stated, “not having a legal definition of ‘gluten-free,’ consumers could never be positive that their body would tolerate a food with the gluten-free label.[3]” Therefore, this new ruling is causing many people with Celiac Disease and the gluten-intolerant to rejoice in the safety of the universal standard.

The rule will apply to the following labels:

  • “Gluten-free”
  • “No gluten”
  • “Free of gluten”
  • “Without gluten”

We now know that gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, as well as some contaminated oats and that even the smallest amount can cause symptoms in those with Celiac and gluten-intolerance. The FDA has decided to consider foods with no more than 20ppm (parts per million) of gluten as gluten-free. But, what does the 20ppm mean, you ask?  20ppm is the least amount of gluten that can be found in foods via reliable scientific analysis testing. It is also the level that meets many other countries’ standards for safety.

Manufacturers will have until August 5th, 2014 to abide by the ruling. Michael R. Taylor, J.D., the Deputy FDA Food Commissioner, states that while the FDA believes the majority of gluten-free companies already fall under compliance, they urge companies to closely examine their practices, before the one-year mark from the ruling3.

While the FDA will not be testing these products before they hit the market, if a food item is found to violate the ruling, the item will be subject to an official FDA investigation, and possible suspension.

What a month for the gluten-free community!  We are pleased that this ruling will allow for a safer shopping experience for gluten-free folks!

 

For more detailed information on the FDA’s ruling, please visit the FDA’s website.


[1] Rubio-Tapia, Alberto, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Tricia L. Brantner, Joseph A. Murray, and James E. Everhart. “The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States.”Nature.com. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, Oct. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v107/n10/full/ajg2012219a.html>.

[2] Sapone, Anna, Julio C. Bai, Carolina Ciacci, Jernej Dolinsek, Peter HR Green, and Marios Hadjivassiliou. “Spectrum of Gluten-related Disorders: Consensus on New Nomenclature and Classification.” BMC Medicine. BioMed Central Medicine, 7 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/10/13>.

[3] “For Consumers.” What Is Gluten-Free? FDA Has an Answer. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363069.htm>.

 

 

Is Greek Frozen Yogurt Everyone's Answer to Dessert?

yogurt

In the past few years, frozen yogurt has become an increasingly popular food. With its creamy texture, thick consistency, and boasting more protein than regular yogurt, it’s no surprise that Greek yogurt has expanded to a wide variety of products on the shelves. From shelf stable products like cereals or covered pretzels to Greek frozen yogurt ice cream, are the commercial products that contain this tangy yogurt just as healthy as Greek yogurt itself? Read on to find out if Greek frozen yogurt is everyone’s answer to dessert!

What Is Greek Yogurt?

The processing, flavor, and nutrition content of Greek yogurt differs greatly from regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has been strained, and the whey is removed; which yields a thick and creamy product. It is also tangier than regular yogurt. Its thick consistency allows for it to easily act as a substitute for many ingredients. For example, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for recipes that call for whole milk, sour cream, or even cream cheese! (Try Fage non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for a healthier alternative to cream cheese. It’s thick consistency allows it stay in tact yet spreadable on toasts!) Compared to regular yogurt, most Greek yogurts have higher protein and calcium content and lower added sugar content. Note that calcium content can vary depending on the brand and flavor of the yogurt. When food shopping, check the back of the nutrition label to see the percentage of calcium that the product contains. Typically it can vary from 20-50% calcium.

Is it Healthier?

With it’s reputation for being healthier, a recent trend is that people have been substituting Greek frozen yogurt for ice cream or frozen yogurt. But is it really healthier or just as healthy as Greek yogurt itself?  Here is breakdown of some popular items’ nutrient compositions:

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 3.56.41 PM

From the information above, you can see that Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt has the least calories as well as the most protein. Instead of focusing on the calorie content however, note that the protein content is what really sets Greek yogurt apart from the frozen products. The protein will increase satiety—essentially helping to keep you feeling full, longer—and it won’t spike your insulin. Compared to its frozen counterpart, this makes Greek yogurt a great everyday food choice for those who may have diabetes or are insulin resistant. And if you’re looking to reap the health benefits of Greek yogurt, enjoy it straight from the container or use it as a healthy alternative for recipes like salads, dips, and even cheesecakes!

It’s important to recognize that while Greek yogurt itself can be a nutritionally dense and tasty food, know that not every Greek yogurt product is going to have the same nutritional value. Unfortunately, the labeling of the product as “Greek frozen yogurt” may create a perception that it provides the same benefits as regular Greek yogurt. Products that claim to contain Greek yogurt (whether frozen or shelf stable) often contain added sugars like syrups or candy pieces, and fillers, which increase the saturated fat and dwindle the amount of Greek yogurt that is actually in the product.

Despite the differences between Greek yogurt or Greek frozen yogurt, the takeaway is that it is perfectly OK to enjoy Greek frozen yogurt (or simply ice cream!) sometimes as a snack or dessert. Remember, here at Eating and Living Moderately, we believe in enjoying all foods in moderation and balance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 3.08.52 PMMost people are confused about whether nuts are good for you. In the past, nuts have gotten a bad rep for being a “bad fat.” However, nuts are high in vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and fat, and a handful of nuts go a long way. These bite sized powerhouses are in fact highly nutritious and beneficial to the body. All nuts have different nutrition profiles and offer different benefits. Read on to find out which nuts are rich in calcium or boast the most protein per serving.

Almonds
Brazil Nuts
Cashews
Hazelnuts
Macadamia Nuts
Peanuts
Pecans
Pine Nuts
Pistachios
Walnuts

Nuts for Seeds
If you’re allergic to nuts, seeds are similar in flavor. They offer a nutty taste and crunchy texture without the health risk.

Sunflower Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

Watermelon Seeds

Too Much of a Good Thing

Although nuts are a healthy choice themselves, like all foods, too much of a good thing isn’t always healthy. Nuts are small but are more nutritionally dense in both fat and calories. So, keep in mind that while a handful of nuts can be a healthy snack choice between meals, too many handfuls may ruin your appetite altogether.

Super Foods Super Expensive

Are “Super foods” worth the money? This answer depends on which food one is referring to. The Willis Report recently asked me if consumers who are being bombarded with trendy super foods like quinoa, goji berries, acai berries, and spirulina getting the most for their money? Well these foods are indeed packed with nutrition especially vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals but they are not necessarily better than other more main stream supper foods like blueberries or salmon. See our post “Are Super Foods So Super?
”

While “super foods” like raw pumpkin super chips or oats with goigi berries are extremely nutritious, they don’t always live up to their cost. They could possibly be even less super than a local or frozen food as they may be less fresh if they are exotic, processed, or have added ingredients. Keep in mind there is no formal qualification defining super foods. Rather this term is used loosely implying this specific food has as much or a greater amount of nutrition than another food.  

When comparing prices of foods marketed as ‘super foods’ and sold in specialty health boutiques, I found that pumpkin chips were five times the costs of just purchasing pure pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Oat based cereal sold, as a super food was twice as expensive as purchasing stone ground oats with fresh blueberries and a chocolate bar from Africa that was only 44% cocoa was sixty-six percent more expensive then a USA dark chocolate bar like Sweet Riot with 70% coca.

The message here is when opting for value, go with the foods that are most wholesome and unaltered like nuts, wild salmon and organic blueberries. See here for more natural super foods:

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-everyday-super-foods?page=2.

To find foods that have positive affects on your health without paying top price go with non-packaged fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts. Stroll the bulk section of your health food store and buy foods sold by the pound rather than by the package.

  • “If it is in a package, it is probably processed!
  • If it is has been processed, it’s probably not super.
  • If it is has sugar as the first ingredient, and
  • If it is marketed as super it’s probably not so super.
  • Real whole foods are the super foods that are a super deal.”

Keep in mind, if you are buying juices or super chips with agave, these products have added sugar since agave is sugar. Local fresh and or frozen are usually the best foods to buy for greater nutrition, sustainable efforts and economical value.

 

Camelback Giveaway

We all know how important adequate water intake is and CamelBak has just made things a lot easier!  Their new Groove water bottle provides great-tasting filtered water that follows you wherever you go!  The plant-based filter lasts three months, which means that it replaces 375 disposable plastic water bottles.  The bottle is BPA free and contains a spill-proof bite valve so it helps you take on the day regardless of what comes your way! GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Two lucky winners will receive a CamelBak! Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet @MomDishesItOut is having a @CamelBak #Giveaway We’d love to hear what you like about CamelBak. Giveaway ends on Sunday, April 14th at 6:00 PM EST.

Enter to Win KIND Bars

A few weeks ago, we shared with you some of our favorite energy bars for hiking and on-the-go. KIND bars are generally made with about 10 rather simple ingredients, many which include nuts, honey, puffed rice and dried fruits. The use of whole, not ground nuts, contribute to the texture and “homemade” feel. They recently released a new line of flavors, Nuts & Spices, which contain spices like cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. Made with ingredients you can pronounce, they make a pretty good option before a run, or as a midday snack. Whether you’re already a KIND bar fan or have yet to try one, here’s your chance to enter our KIND bar giveaway! 

DARK CHOCOLATE CINNAMON PECAN

Ingredients : Mixed nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews), chicory root fiber, honey, palm kernel oil, sugar, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, cocoa powder, cinnamon, soy lecithin, milk powder, salt, vanilla extract.

 CASHEW & GINGER SPICE

Ingredients : Cashews, almonds, peanuts, chicory root fiber, honey, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, ginger, sugar, spices, soy lecithin.

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

One lucky winner will receive a Kind Nuts & Spices Mixed Case!

Enter by one of the following ways. You can submit more than one entry by doing any of the following. Just be sure to leave an additional comment letting us know you did! Good luck!

  • Leave a comment here and  “Like us” on our Facebook page
  • Follow @MomDishesItOut and tweet @MomDishesItOut is having a @KINDSnacks #Giveaway.
    We’d love to hear what you like about KIND bars! Giveaway ends on Friday, April 5th at 12:00 PM EST.  

Protein, Fiber and a Booty Barre Class? Sign me up!

Two weeks ago, along with Tracey Mallett, founder of The Booty Barre, Kashi held a protein and fiber-packed media event to launch a new GOLEAN cereal that launches in June. The two-hour event included samples of Kashi’s newest addition, Vanilla Graham Clusters, and a “kick your booty” workout that Tracey led. She also discussed the importance of the protein and fiber found in Kashi cereals as well as how important it is to incorporate physical activity into any health-improvement plan.

What is The Booty Barre?

If you’re into fitness trends, and from the West coast, you’ve probably heard about The Booty Barre. But for those of you who don’t know about it—The Booty Barre is a high-energy workout combining Pilates, dance and yoga—all accompanied by upbeat, get-your-blood-pumping music. And let me tell you, once the music started, Tracey’s workout was no joke. It worked the “booty” and much more! New Yorkers, think “Physique 57” and Pilates combined.

We started with a warm-up at the barre including some combinations and several repetitions of toe raises and pliés. Then we progressed on to all kinds of different body movements in addition to “booty” shaking—curtsies, stretching, arm and ab exercises, plus routines focusing specifically on the gluteus (buttocks). At the end, we each received our own copy of the workout. While a barre is helpful, one can easily use a sturdy chair for balance when following the DVD at home or on the go. Tracey also suggested that the kitchen counter will do too. Just so you know, we (Laura C. and Laura I.) were sore 48 hours after!!

Protein and Fiber-Packed Aftermath

After the workout, we had the chance to create our own parfaits beginning with sample bowls of Kashi GoLean Vanilla Graham Clusters. Combined with fresh raspberries and bananas, Kashi’s new cereal provided us with a delicious way to refuel. It also gave us a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and media representatives. We even got to speak with Tracey and the ladies representing Kashi—an amazing group of women!

This new GOLEAN cereal contains 11g protein, 9g fiber and 30g carbohydrates per one-cup serving.The first ingredient on the label is soy grits. Hum, do you know about this seemingly new ingredient? Soy grits—soybeans that have been toasted and broken into fine pieces. They are a popular high-protein and fiber, low-carb alternative to yellow and white (hominy) corn grits. You can enjoy these Vanilla Graham Clusters alone as part of a midday snack or decide to incorporate them in creative ways such as adding them to your granola bar ingredient list or simply sprinkling them on top of Greek yogurt. Click the link here for more information on other varieties and ways to use Kashi’s Cereals.

This protein and fiber-oriented media event was awesome to attend! Yet again, this type of experience drives home some of the most basic principles of nutrition education—healthy lifestyles begin with the consumption of balanced meals which include wholesome carbs high in fiber and adequate lean protein combined with consistent participation in movements/physical activities that you love, are practical and motivating. Being a certified diabetes educator, I am always seeking cereals that make people feel full and help rather than hurt blood sugar management. Kashi GOLEANn has always and now continues to fit the bill! Thanks Kashi!

 

6 Nutrition Trends of 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia

These seeds are gaining even more popularity and are being called the “new flax seed”.  You can even find them in single serving pouches like you can nuts, etc. to make them easier to add to your meals and snacks.

Natural sugar “alternatives.”

Coconut sugar and coconut nectar are leading this battle. Coconut sugar comes from the nectar of coconut tree blossoms, but doesn’t taste like coconut. The sugar is simply the dehydrated form of coconut nectar. It may have slightly more vitamins and minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and B vitamins) than white sugar.

Self Monitoring

Once again, fitness apps will influence consumers to utilize technology for tracking progress, motivation and guidance. Apps such as Nike Fuel and LarkLife are becoming vital parts of health and wellness for all ages as they offer not only personal fitness tracking but calorie counting and menu ideas as well.

Gluten-Free Foods

With over 11% of the US population suffers from a gluten allergy, becoming even more popular and common are gluten-free food products. Based on a survey from over 1,800 members of the American Culinary Foundation, the National Restaurant Association predicts annual menu trends, with gluten-free securing the same spot as in did in 2012, at number 8 on the list. Perhaps gluten free is not a fad but here to stay. Sorghum is a gluten-free whole grain with a neutral, slightly sweet flavor. It’s extremely versatile; it is expected to be in many products and on many restaurant menus in 2013. Experiment with naturally gluten-free grains like amaranth, brown rice, millet, oats, polenta, and quinoa, which have a variety of nutritional benefits and are delicious!

Juicing

With $5 billion in revenue this year and projected growth of four to eight percent, healthful, all-natural and raw fruit and vegetable juices (Organic Avenue, Cooler Cleanse, even Jamba Juice) will explode into the isles of mass supermarkets to offer customers the option of purchasing fresh pressed juices. Small shops are popping up everywhere, like Organic Avenue and Cooler Cleanse, specializing in fresh pressed juices.

A Simpler Life

School. Work. Family. Kids. Dating. Fitting in physical activity. When life gets busy, simple meals are a must. As consumers become more health conscious and saavy shoppers, companies are producing less processed and more wholesome ready-to-go foods. Grab and go items will have fewer ingredients to appeal to consumers, providing more fresh and simplistic meal and snack options. Natural and simple menus with few ingredients are going to gain in popularity as consumers are starting to realize that strict low carb and low fat diets are not always best.  Choosing high-quality calories and carbohydrates with more nutrition per bite, will be most important for achieving a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about total calories, it’s about where those calories come from.

A Plant Powered Lifestyle

Sharon Palmer, who is also a Registered Dietitian, recently sent me a copy her new book, The Plant Powered Diet. (We’re also giving away one copy to a lucky reader.. for details read on!) While incorporating research studies, an array of informational charts and recipes, Sharon’s book comes down to one main point:

EAT MORE PLANTS!

After a few pages and a chapter or two in, it became clear that despite the title, this is not a typical “how-to diet book.” In fact, the author does a great job of not labeling any foods good or bad, but does an excellent job of providing an abundant amount of information, allowing readers to make his or her decisions about which plant-based foods are best to eat. From shopping organic, cooking, dining out, and teaching you how to calculate your protein needs, Sharon has covered nearly every topic or question you might have about eating more plant-based foods.

Nearly every holiday is centered on the 4 F’s: family, friends, fun and food! Quite often, the day is centered on the latter. For many, a turkey, chicken or roast beef is a focal point of the holiday meal. This year however, I challenge you to power the holidays with a more plant-based approach.  Whether you’re a committed omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, try incorporating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains into the holiday festivities! With family gatherings and parties, take advantage of this holiday season by using it to expose your loved ones to more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

A great takeaway from this book is that vegetables, fruits and whole grains can be incorporated into many dishes, savory or sweet. They can act as substitutes in your favorite dishes or shine on their own. The important thing to remember is that this shouldn’t be view as a temporary diet, but rather a lifestyle change. Change doesn’t begin overnight but it can be a start! Begin by trying one new vegetable every week, or simply ensuring you are eating vegetables throughout your day, whether in your meals or snacks.

Here are 3 of our favorite tips from Sharon’s book, that can help steer you in a healthier direction:

1. Stem-to-Root Eating — One of our favorite sustainable tips from the book, Sharon emphasizes consuming every part of the plant. Sometimes we lose site of the best parts of a plant that are very much still edible. Instead of tossing out your broccoli stalks, kale stems or beet tops, give it a second chance to become a tasty part of your meal!

2. For any favorite recipe, try substituting a whole plant fat like avocado for refined oils — In cakes, you can substitute half the amount of butter or even a mayonaise-like spread with pureed avocado.

3. For dessert recipes, try substituting whole fruit for added sugar instead — “Use the natural sweetness of fruits to sweeten breads, cookies and desserts while gaining a serving of antioxidant-rich fruit.”

For a chance to enter into our giveaway for a copy of Sharon Palmer’s The Plant Powered Diet, click here!

Energy Bars: The On-the-Go Nosh

In today’s society, we are constantly on the run. If we’re not students rushing to class, parents rushing to pick up their kids or dropping them off, then we’re probably rushing to meet our friends or medical appointments. Sometimes, we are so busy and exhausted that many of us just do not have the time to sit down for a bite. So what happens to those of us who finally sit down but are crunched for time? Whether consumed as a snack or meal replacement, many of us opt for an energy bar. With so many options, which bars give a healthier boost? Here are 5 of our favorite energy bars for an on-the-go nosh:

1. Zing

This gluten and soy-free bar is so tasty, we almost forget it’s an energy bar. With about 20 grams of carbohydrates per bar, Zing may be ideal for those who have diabetes, have celiac disease or food intolerances.

2. LaraBar

These bars generally contain less than 8 ingredients and are made of fruits, nuts and spices. Flavorful, but some varieties can contain up to 14-17 grams of sugar so beware. However, we do love the sweet and saltiness of the Roasted Nut Roll, which at 7 grams of sugar per bar, contains half the amount of sugar than the others. The raw nuts make this bar a tasty choice for those following a raw food lifestyle.

3. Kind Bars

These bars are generally made with about 10 rather simple ingredients, many which include nuts, honey, puffed rice and dried fruits. The use of whole, not ground nuts, contribute to the texture and “homemade” feel.

5. Health Warrior Chia Bars

Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids! When we discovered that these vegan bars were made with chia, we were glad to see them successfully added to more foods! Every bar is 100 calories and contains 4 grams of sugar. With 15 grams of carbohydrates, these chia bars may be ideal for someone who has diabetes.

In spite of a hectic schedule, the busy individual should never feel like they need to rely on energy bars to meet calorie or nutritional needs. Although energy bars can be incorporated as a healthy part of a meal structure, there’s nothing quite like fresh or wholesome foods.  Moreover, many of these bars appear nutritious but can have hidden levels of high sugar, additives, carbohydrates and calories. Keep in mind that many of these energy bars were created for athletes, and not for those who do minimal to no exercise.  If given the option between an energy bar or meal when crunched for time, it is best to grab a quick meal. However, if there’s absolutely no way around to grabbing a quick meal (let’s face it, sometimes that’s just not practical) follow this bar code when searching for an on-the-go chew:

  1. Keep it simple – Don’t be tricked by the word “energy bar.” When it comes to figuring out the nutritional value of an energy bar, a consumer’s best bet may be to first scan the back for a list of ingredients, then look at the nutrition label. If there is a long, running list of unfamiliar ingredients that you are unable to pronounce, another bar may be a better option.
  2. Consider your energy and activity needs – Think about your activity for the day. If you will be going on a long run, you may chose a bar with a different nutritional content than an individual who will be doing minimal activity.
  3. Create your own, healthy & homemade energy bars – If you have time, consider making a large batch of bars ahead of time. Not only are they easy to make, but you will also know exactly what ingredients went into them. You can even make them ahead of time and store them for an easy, on-the-go chew! For an even easier and quicker recipe, try packing a homemade trail mix.
  4. Think outside of the box – If you’re looking for energy bars to be your meal replacer, consider grabbing a Greek yogurt and enjoy it with a banana or top it with fresh berries.